Rebecca Zahau death: Mysterious details surrounding the unsolved case point towards murder even though cops are convinced it's a suicide
32-year-old Rebecca Zahau's 2011 death was ruled as a suicide, claims which have been refuted by her family and friends.
In 2011, Rebecca Zahau was discovered dead at her millionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, California. The 32-year-old Burmese immigrant was found naked with her hands and legs bound up. Despite the bizarre and strange way she was found, her death was officially ruled as a suicide.
An Oxygen documentary 'Death at the Mansion: Rebecca Zahau' explores the various possibilities and theories as to what really happened to her. The decision that Zahau's death was a suicide has shocked Zahau's family who has maintained that she was murdered. According to an investigative report obtained by Oxygen, "Rebecca was nude, her hands and feet were bound with red rope."
"There was also red rope tied around her neck and a blue cloth tied around her neck," the report continued. The crime scene also included a very ominous and baffling message which had been written in black paint on the of the mansion's door which read, "She saved him. Can you save her?"
Zahau's family has stood firm that there was foul play involved in her death.
These are all the reasons that Zahau's death was possibly a homicide and not a suicide:
1. Her strong sense of faith
Zahau was a religious person and had a strong sense of faith. She was also part of a Christian youth group. Zahau's family is adamant that her strong Christian faith would have prevented her from taking her own life. The family also refuted claims which stated that Zahau was depressed or suicidal.
2. The Hyoid Bone Theory
According to cold case investigator, Paul Holes, Zahau's death may not have been a suicide and he highlights one of her bones as evidence. Holes who had also helped to identify a suspect in the Golden State Killer case shared that he had evaluated the mansion crime scene. He said, "She was killed through manual strangulation up in the bedroom and then ultimately was placed down on the grass. And law enforcement was told that she was found hanging."
"For me, the biggest thing in my mind that I really want to dig into further is the amount of damage to her neck. If this was this true long-drop execution hanging, I would expect a lot more trauma, if not near decapitation — broken neck, internal decapitation, or full decapitation after this victim had dropped nine to 10 feet," he added.
He also said that her neck was not damaged from a 10-foot fall and pointed out that Zahau’s hyoid bone and voice box were broken.
"With Rebecca, the left edge, the left end of the hyoid has been fractured. Generally, when you see a fractured hyoid, that's usually indicative of manual strangulation," he continued.
3. Her blood was all over the knife
According to law enforcement, two knives were found inside the room and forensic specialist for the Zahau family, Lisa DiMeo, testified in civil court that it looked as though Zahau's menstrual blood which was discovered on the floor, was found on all sides of the knife handle. As investigator Loni Coombs points out, Zahau was menstruating at the time and a knife covered in blood could mean there was sexual assault, which is a "huge flag against suicide".
4. The Rope
There were red ropes found binding Zahau's legs and hands which investigators with the Sheriff's Department said that Zahau had tied herself. However, according to a knot expert who was hired by the Zahau family attorney, Keith Greer, testified that the knots found were consistent with nautical maritime knots, which Zahau could not have pulled off alone. Jonah Shacknai's brother, Adam, who was present in the mansion and the last person to see her alive, was a tugboat captain which would mean he was familiar with the knots.
5. Last conversation with her sister Mary Zahau Loehner
Zahau and her sister Mary Zahau Loehner were very close and had spoken to each other on the last night Zahau was seen alive. The two had spoken about Zahau coming back home for a visit but Zahau did not want to leave as she wanted to help her boyfriend take care of his son Max. Zahau did tell her sister that she would definitely be back to celebrate their father's 80th birthday party in October.
Mary added that Zahau had planned to go to bed early that day so she could wake up early and get to the hospital. She shared with the San Diego Reader, "All of it. All of it doesn’t fit. The conversation she and I had the day before [she died], none of it adds up. She had two detailed plans for the next day: to take things for Jonah [to the hospital where he was tending to Max] to fix something for him to eat. She told me to tell our mom that she would call her on her way to the hospital in the morning. That she was going to text me throughout the day. I mean, that’s somebody who’s planning to kill herself?"
6. The two questionable computer searches
Sean Elder who is a freelance journalist shared with the producers of Oxygen's 'Death At The Mansion: Rebecca Zahau' that there was some speculation that there could have been some elements of bondage. It was reported that somebody was apparently watching bondage pornography from inside the mansion where Zahau was killed.
Elder shared, "When the authorities did a search of house computers, they found that someone had been looking at bondage porn on the internet, and Asian porn on the night, in fact, when Rebecca died." He said there were Google searches of keywords such as "sexy", "Asian," and "rape" on the fateful night that Zahau died. "The links themselves were of Asian bondage porn and anime porn."
Zahau family attorney Anne Bremner shared with CBS in San Diego in 2011 and said, "Never in a million years would she have those fantasies, and never in a million years would she even look at porn. Here was somebody interested in doing her harm, with these kinds of searches."
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